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Unfit Bhajji, BCCI’s googly to India

Pradeep Magazine
Adelaide, December 11

What was being promised as a new dawn may well turn out to be a nightmare for Indian cricket. In a shocking disclosure on the eve of the second Test against Australia here, it was revealed that off-spinner Harbhajan Singh's spinning finger was badly injured and he couldn't grip the ball despite taking pain-killing injections.

He has now been ruled out for the entire series.

What was shocking was not the injury but the manner in which it had been kept under wraps for the past year. And that despite being unfit, the bowler was chosen ahead of Murali Kartik, who reached here late on Thursday as a desperate, last-minute replacement.

It is strange that despite the whole world being aware that Harbhajan was injured — and that he had been sent to Australia at the BCCI's expense when he was advised surgery immediately after the World Cup — he kept on playing.

While you can understand that the team badly wanted Harbhajan to play against Australia, what you can’t fathom is how a bowler who admitted that his finger hurt whenever he bowled, was picked to play.

No wonder, Harbhajan has not been his usual self of late and was mauled by the Aussies in the first Test.

The Indian board needs to tell the world why the extent of the injury was kept hidden and why the team physio, Andrew Leipus, did not report on it. And if he did, why no action was taken.

Even more shocking is that despite all the talk of professionalism in Indian cricket, the Indian media had to do some sleuthing to find out the exact position on Harbhajan.

There is no media manager with the team and the cricket manager Shivlal Yadav — who was accused by former board secretary Jaywant Lele of being caught with prostitutes when he was a selector — shuns the press.

By the way, the BCCI's director of communications is in Australia — not as the team's media manager but as a journalist.

Source : Hindustan Times
Who is to blame for stale Bhajji
- Sambit Bal
The Indian team management has dealt in so much intrigue in the last couple of days that it would have been enough stuff for a mystery novel had it not been so amateurishly comical. It has ended, however, in unmitigated tragedy, with the team losing two of its leading performers for this Test. The news is that Harbhajan Singh's Australian tour is over and that Zaheer Khan's hamstring problem is much more serious than we had been led to believe. He was out of the second Test and was replaced by Irfan Pathan, a left-arm pace bowler also from Baroda.

Zaheer's unavailability, without doubt, is a body blow for a team which had looked so upbeat since the second day of the Brisbane Test. For more than a year now, he has been India's strike weapon overseas, and for all their supposed vulnerability against spin, he has been the bowler to cause the Australians most worry. He is unlike most Australian bowlers - skiddy, slippery and does more off the wicket. His absence will be a huge void to fill.

But it is Harbhjan's case that tells a story of appalling administrative failure and a lack of common intelligence from a player who has shown, in sporadic bursts, uncommon ability. That he has had a problem with his index finger has been known for a while, but what is now slowly coming to light is that the decision not to operate had been entirely his. Only a medical professional can judge with certainty the wisdom of that decision, but prima facie, it appears to have been the wrong one, and while Harbhajan must cop the blame for it, it also reflects poorly on the administration, that he was allowed to take it.

Harbhajan came to Australia in July this year at the expense of the Indian cricket board, accompanied by the board-certified medical expert to seek advice and treatment for his troublesome middle finger, the one he uses ball after ball to impart spin. He had been given two choices: operation with an almost sure chance of success, or exercises which repair the damage temporarily and delay the surgery, which would have nevertheless been inevitable. Harbhajan, according to a story, allowed his fear of the knife to overwhelm him and chose the exercise route. From all accounts, the medical expert chose to be considerate to the player's concern for the moment.

Players have played with injuries before. Sachin Tendulkar decided to play throughout the World Cup with the pain of a hairline fracture in his finger, Nathan Astle played the recent Test series against India with a knee injury, but in their cases, the injury did not impair their primary craft. A strong middle finger is vital to spinning the ball. If Harbhajan was struggling – at least figures from the beginning of this series would indicate this was true – the team management ought to have taken a more serious view of the matter. We do not immediately know whether he had underwent thorough medical tests before the tour, and if he did what was the extent of damage found.

A team is entitled to carry a marginally injured player if it is deemed absolutely essential. It is a thin line, though, and we will perhaps never know the truth because the Indian administration is so miserly with it. But the fact was that Harbhajan was telling everyone who would care to listen, only a day before the match, that it was only matter of rhythm, and that he was going to strike back, and the captain, while unsparing of Harbhajan's poor performance, didn't utter a word about his injury. This smacks of either complete ignorance, which is hard to stomach, or naivety.

We are not yet aware if the selectors were privy to Harbhjan's condition – it would be scandalous if they were not – but the question needs to be asked why, even if carrying Harbhajan was a necessity, cover wasn't provided for him. Instead of joining the tour a day before a Test match, Murali Kartik then should have been in the original party.

Of course, it is not the Indian way to be transparent. Kartik's arrival here was cloaked in such secrecy that you would believe he was some newly developed nuclear missile that the Indians planned to unleash on the Australians on the day of the match. There was no word from the selectors back home or at the pre-match press conference, and not a soul to receive him at the hotel when he
arrived after a 14-hour flight. If it wasn't so sad, it would have been funny.

Source :

And now they are asking for Sanjay Bangar. Why don't we initially itself send a 20 member squad :-)). Sanjay Bangar shd have been there in place of Deep DasGupta. Why we need 2nd keeper? Given that our BCCI can send players in minutes to Aus, if required, Deep DasGupta can be sent anytime. I don't see him playing a single match there in Aus. Or was he sent to play against sides like Queensland and get some practice??

BCCI is the greatest puzzle ever invented :-))

I would still call it "Der aayad durust aayad"
Sanjay Banger is definately a much better selection than Deep Daas Gupta - the Goalkeeper from Bengal.. Lets hope the news is correct...

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